Five business lessons you can learn from your Christmas shopping

14 December 2022  |   12 minutes read
Christmas shopping

It’s that time of year again. Christmas ads are on the TV, seasonal deals are in the shops and (miraculously) there’s snow to add to the festive spirit. It must be time to get your Christmas shopping done. But how does that tie in with your business success?

In fact, there are plenty of business lessons to learn from a good Christmas shopping experience. And we’ve wrapped up five of them as our seasonal gift to you:

Find out what people want

We’ve all received a Christmas gift that we don’t really want. It might be an ill-fitting hand-knitted jumper from your auntie, or the latest book from an author you dislike. That’s why it’s so important to ask around and see what your family members want for Christmas!

Doing your research is important, and the same applies when running a business and aiming your products or services at an expectant customer audience.

Offer something they actually need

Customers will prefer a product or service that meets their expectations and fulfils a purpose. To do this, tailor your offering to their needs. Find out what their problems or pain points are and make sure that you’re solving them.

You might find that your customers are highly motivated and actively looking for a product or service to meet a specific need. On the other hand, you may have identified a need that your customers aren’t fully aware of. If this is the case, you’ll need to focus your attention on education before setting your sights on adoption.

The key point here is to offer a product or service that your customers actually need, rather than simply the product or service you want to sell.

Learn their habits, interests and preferences

Use market research and customer feedback to understand your customers’ habits, interests and preferences so you can target your offering more effectively. And, more importantly, do this research to understand whether your product or service is genuinely having a positive impact.

Does it solve your customers’ problems? Is it easy to use or access? Have you made it simple for customers to understand how it works? Is there low uptake on a certain feature of your product or service offering because that feature isn’t actually useful or attractive to your customers?

When you know the answers to these questions, adjust your approach accordingly.

Look around for the best deals

Christmas is an expensive time of year, especially when cash is short. As a result, you don’t want to spend any more money than you need to, but you still want to give something special to your friends and loved ones. So, finding the best deals is a no-brainer.

In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to search for the cheapest prices and the best Christmas deals. And it’s the same when buying for your business. To get good deals:

  • Do your online research – look up the online prices of common items you buy for the business, and shop around to get the lowest possible prices
  • Go where you know – if you have a trusted long-standing relationship with your suppliers, they’re more likely to agree to discounts and lower prices for buying in bulk and so on
  • Shop around – if you’ve relied on the same suppliers for years out of habit rather than loyalty, it could be time to start exploring other (potentially cheaper) options
  • Plan ahead – if you can source the things you need long before you need them, you may find you get a better deal out of season when there’s lower demand

Spread your shopping out

The combined cost of Christmas shopping, decorations, food and socialising is a big hit to your cash flow. One way to reduce the impact is to spread out your spending across the months leading up to Christmas. This stretches the multiple festive outgoings across a longer period of incomings, easing some of the cash flow pressure.

The same is true of your business spending. Spreading your expenditure out over the period helps you balance your income and costs, so you stay cash flow positive. To ease the impact of spending:

  • Spend little and often – where you have regular fixed costs, try to buy these items at different intervals throughout the month, so you spread the cash flow impact
  • Use credit where it makes sense – if you have access to credit facilities, make use of them. Using credit helps you delay the cost and spread it out via repayments

Pay attention to the wrapping

Who of us hasn’t been lured in by the look of a beautifully wrapped present under the Christmas tree? The way we wrap, decorate and present our gifts is such an important part of the festive atmosphere. And the same goes for the way you present your brand.

In hospitality, they say the first bite is with the eye. And when it comes to your brand, the look of your products and the quality of your presentation is key to engaging customers.

Make your brand look inviting

Bold colours, an exciting logo and top-class design are all ways to make your products look more enticing to your customers. If that makes sense for your brand! The way you achieve a look and feel that feels ‘inviting’ to your customers will depend on who they are, what your business offers, the industry you operate in and so on.

Think of your website as your shop window; what does it say about your business? Is it bringing people in and, importantly, are those the kinds of people most likely to become customers? The text and design elements should work in harmony, achieving a beautiful balance of SEO, brand positioning and highly converting copy.

Pay close attention to your brand guidelines

To keep your products looking uniform and consistent, stick to your brand’s visual identity. Customers will be able to spot your products from a distance (as long as they’re not wrapped under the tree).

The same goes for anything a customer might see and attribute to your business; from a salesperson’s business card and other printed collateral to your LinkedIn profile banner and company email signature.

Keep track of those card taps

In an age of contactless payment and ‘tap and go’, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the Christmas spending. Having access to a contactless card does make payments easier – but be careful not to overspend and go too trigger-happy with your debit card.

Your business and employee expenses work the same way. You want your team to have the ease of tap-and-go for business purchases, while maintaining visibility and control over that spending so you can keep your cash flow running smoothly.

With Soldo’s prepaid cards and connected expense management software, you can:

  • Set custom limits and ring-fence budgets – so you have complete control over who can spend what and which budget every card tap comes out of
  • Track and review spending in real-time –  approve payments on-the-go and see transactions as they happen, so you avoid any month-end surprises
  • Capture receipts and connect to Xero – or Sage, Quickbooks and other accounting software, so bookkeeping and reconciliation are quick and easy

Find out more about how our customers use Soldo to control spending and save money here.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

We hope our Christmas shopping tips have given you some planning and strategy ideas for the coming year. Managing your Christmas budget and your business budget are not so different. Ultimately, it’s all about being in the best possible control of your spending.

From all of us here at Soldo, we wish you a very happy holiday and a relaxing time away from the workplace. We’ll see you in 2023.

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